How My Dad Impacted my Path to Motherhood

We all see posts online that boast the hashtag #girldad or #boymom. When you’re a dad and have only daughters, that tagline hits the nail on the head. My dad was a girl dad. There are three of us and he was the lucky one with the ultimate responsibility of raising us … alone. We never made it easy, that poor man. When we were 10, 8 and 6 I overheard him telling one of his friends that as much craziness was in our house (three girls is a lot of estrogen) he wouldn’t have ever changed the dynamic of our family.

There were so many ways my dad shaped me into the person I am today. He taught me to love simply and be giving of my time. My dad didn’t have a lot of spare time because he spent so much of it at work, but he made the time he had the best he could. When I was in 5th grade, he went out and bought this ridiculously large TV set and then was one of the first subscribers to HBO (cable TV was just coming out). So, our special time with our dad was a movie night every Friday and Love Boat every Saturday. I didn’t miss a single night with him for over almost six years. In those weekends I was able to understand my dad’s humor, what made him sad and what he stood for. Those weekends were never difficult, they were simple. Simple and fun.

Because he worked so much to be able to provide for the three of us, my dad wasn’t always home. He had his hands in a lot of pots, and he knew a lot of people. One of the biggest impressions left on me, when I was just a teenager, was to always work to provide for your family. When I turned 16, I got my first job bagging groceries. To be clear, my dad made me get the job but told me that this kind of job would care for my family someday. For a long time, I struggled; working at a grocery store wasn’t my career path choice AT ALL.

In the long run, though, he was right.

That job allowed me to take a senior trip in high school, it took care of me while I went to college, and eventually took care of my family, too. I watched him be dedicated to his career and then did the same with my own. He loved his career and what he did, and that really helped me lead my teams with positivity. He was passionate about what he did which led me to find passion in things I never thought were my calling. I worked for my company for 34 years. It served me and my family well.

My dad was an incredible man. During a time where I made a career shift within my company and was having a difficult time transitioning to a new role my father said, “Some people don’t like people with positive attitudes or people who exude confidence.” While I heard what he said, I didn’t feel as if I possessed either of those qualities, at the time. My self-doubt was overwhelming and I questioned my ability to be a leader in my company. I would call him on my way to work close to tears. He would talk to me, reminding me what he saw in me, what others saw and how it impacted them. In the long run my father gave me invaluable advice on those car rides; advice that sticks with me to this day and makes me a better person each and every day.

Most importantly, he helped make me a better mom. I hold value in his opinion of me, even when I feel less than, and I certainly don’t let anyone judge my parenting skills. I think I do a pretty good job as a mom today. I give my children the same guidance my dad passed onto me. As parents, we do the best that we can with the knowledge we have from our own life experiences. Hopefully, someday my children reflect on the things I have taught them, as I do with my own father. Maybe they’ll even give me a cool hashtag to go along with it!